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This latest release gives me the most satisfaction since I'm using Slackware (September 2005 with 10.2).
In addition to the expected stability and simplicity (i.e. I'm in full control of setting up the system to my own needs), this release comes with up-to-date packages in particular the KDE 4.4.3 which I find highly functional and responsive on my desktop (1.8MHz, 1GB RAM).
With this release, the Slackware team demonstrates that stability and bleeding edge are not incompatible goals. It seems to boil down to a good vetting process before deciding what gets included in the distribution (Thanks Patrick Volkerding for making the rather controversial switch to KDE4 in 13.0).
As usual, reading the documentation files is highly recommended before installation or upgrade (I would dare to say mandatory even for longtime Slackware users). A good starting point would be:
and if you want to upgrade from 13.0:
Slackware 13.0 comes with two major changes: KDE4 and the new x86 64-bit official port.
Further details are available in the RELEASE_NOTES.
Some words on the installation process:
As usual, the installation/upgrade process requires some reading before starting. This is in my opinion, the single biggest obstacle facing a new Slackware user who may have come to expect to boot only the DVD/CD and to be greeted by a graphical interface that would guide him/her through the installation process.
But don't be shy, all relevant documentation is available in the root directory of the DVD or of the first installation CD, most notably:
By reading this information, you'll ensure a smoothless installation and you'll get the additional benefit of knowing more of what is under the hood in most other distributions.
Were you to face any particular issue (unfortunaly it can happen), you'll get quick and efficient support in the Slackware LQ forum.
Running Slackware 13.0 as my home desktop:
I've been using Slackware since version 10.2. I've been running -current (i.e the development branch) since July 2009 to get better acquainted with KDE4 prior to the release of 13.0.
Now I use Slackware 13.0 with KDE4 as my main home desktop (x86 32-bit) to perform mostly the following activities:
- Browse the internet (Firefox)
- Do some clerical work (Koffice)
- Listen to music (Amarok)
- Watch some videos (Mplayer)
- Send mails (Kmail)
- Retrieve photos from my camera (Dolphin + Gwenview)
- Manage the machine through the console (Konsole)
- Play some games (KDE Games)
The system performs as one would expect and I notice that KDE4 runs faster than KDE3.5. Also Firefox 3.5.2 starts more rapidly which is a welcome improvement from the 3.0 series.
KDE4 is known to provide less customizing features than KDE3.5 but this has no impact on me as a change of the background image and the addition of some application launchers in the panel are enough customizing for me.
So far, I have two major grievances:
- Koffice 2 looks promising but it lacks features from the 1.6 series (ex: draw charts in Kspread, arrays do not seem to work in Kword). But for simple clerical work, it's OK.
- I'm using Kmymoney2 personal finance manager in 12.2 but it's not yet ready for KDE4. It's not strictly Slackware's fault but it diminishes the interest of 13.0 for me.
So for now I also keep a version of Slackware 12.2 in another partition to which I revert to if I can not perform one activity on 13.0.
Of course, Slackware is more than just a desktop distribution but I can not comment on server-side applications because I'm not using them.
Slackware 13.0 is a stable and reliable version that again demonstrates the hard work and attention to detail of its founder Patrick Volkerding and the various contributors collectively known as the Slackware Team.
However, the replacement of KDE3 by KDE4 got mixed feedbacks from users. Patrick Volkerding took great pains to explain the rationale behind this switch in the RELEASE_NOTES and I follow him along that road.
Thank you Patrick for this release.
I started using Linux in June 2005. I wanted to learn linux so I installed Gentoo. The learning curve was steep but rewarding. However running on an old PC (500 Mhz), compiling from source was a hassle.
So I went looking for a distribution that allows me to tweak rapidly the system to my needs. One friend recommended me Slackware. I was unimpressed by the website but I installed Slackware 10.2 in september 2005.
As I looked for information on Slackware, I discovered a great community here at LQ and a wealth of documentation on various sites.
In spite of being the oldest surviving distribution (or maybe because of it), Slackware commands a faithful following that seems rather open-minded. You won't find the kind of "my distro is the one, others suck" folks, but rather the "I love my distro and want to help you love it too if you want" kind of folks.
Slackware strikes the right balance for me between ease of configuration and the feeling to be in control of my system.
Now I'm running Slackware 11.0 and I plan to stay in the Slack family for the time being.